League Championship Bristol City has "unveiled an ambitious scheme" to redevelop its home ground at Ashton Gate, according to Andy Stockhausen of THE POST. Bristol City's plan is to "completely rebuild the Wedlock and Williams Stands and renovate the Atyeo and Dolman Stands" to increase capacity from 19,000 to 26,000 by the start of the '16-17 season. The project will take three years, cost £40M ($63M) and "will be entirely underwritten" by Bristol City majority shareholder Steve Lansdown. Bristol City is "expected to make an application for planning permission" to Bristol City Council as early as June and work could start by the spring of '14. Meanwhile, the club will "continue to explore the possibility" of constructing a new 30,000 all-seat stadium at nearby Ashton Vale pending a second inquiry, scheduled for October (THE POST, 2/5). In Bristol, Christopher Brown reported Bristol Mayor George Ferguson has "given an initial support" to Bristol City’s redevelopment plans at Ashton Gate if "plans to build a new stadium at Ashton Vale finally fail." The club hopes a new railway station will be built on land near the Ford car dealership so "fans would have a rail link with Temple Meads and walk to the revamped ground." Responding on Twitter, Ferguson said, "This is great news for #BristolCity & Ashton community. Plans have my strong #BristolMayor backing. Let’s all get behind it" (BRISTOL 24-7, 2/5).
SHARED GROUND: The BBC reported Bristol Rugby Club Chair Chris Booy said that it would be "sharing a ground with the football club, whichever stadium gets built." Booy said, "It makes tremendous economic sense and allows us to invest more money in the football and rugby clubs." Bristol City previously said that the Ashton Gate site is "too small to fit its plans." However, Managing Dir Jon Lansdown said that "demolishing the Hirerite site next to Ashton Gate and getting rid of the temporary huts alongside the Williams stand would free up more space" (BBC, 2/5).